Do you know the fable, The Ant and the Chrysalis by Aesop?
If not, indulge me ….
An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change. The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive. "Poor, pitiable animal!" cried the Ant disdainfully. "What a sad fate is yours! While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail." The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply. A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained. Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly. "Behold in me," said the Butterfly, "your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen." So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.
Moral: Appearances can be misleading.
I find this interesting because we’ve all heard “wolf in sheep’s clothing” to denote evil that lies within a harmless façade yet, we often don’t think about the judgments we make when the appearance isn’t attractive and we automatically presume the worst. Exactly, what the ant did with the chrysalis!
Guess that’s where we get the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover?”
The point is it seems like we do a whole lot of judging- don’t we?
Judging, in particular, those that are different than us or those we simply don’t like either because of their appearance or their actions.
For example, the car mechanic judged to be a criminal because he is covered in tattoos from head to toe- however, upon closer examination the tattoos are symbolic of his deep faith in Christianity.
Or the middle-aged Pakistani man who upon first glance the word “terrorist" jumps to mind yet, it turns out he is a Christian pastor!
Snap judgments based on the world’s standard of only looking on the outside.
The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
God looks at our hearts!
Let’s consider that ALL of mankind is made in the image of God. When we make snap judgments of others based simply on their appearances we condemn God’s very creation.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
A step further, the Bible tells us that those who have accepted and follow Christ- begin to actually reflect Christ to others!
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
So, if God only sees the inward, all of mankind is made in His image and Christians reflect the very image of Christ, why in the world do we believe ourselves so superior to criticize and judge others?
What would happen if we started looking at others through the lens of God’s eyes.
If we put aside our prejudgments, biases and criticisms and simply paused for a moment to try to see others the way God sees them--viewing them through a filter of patience and love?
Looking hard at others, despite their outward appearance, to discern their hearts- giving them the benefit of the doubt for that single moment?
I wonder if we did, what would we actually see? A chrysalis or butterfly?
Maybe, just maybe,
we would see the reflection of Christ!
Father, forgive us for all the times that we have unfairly judged others and in turn persecuted you. May you grant us the ability to pause and see others through your eyes- seeing their hearts and hopefully seeing the reflection of Christ. May we not miss opportunities to see you in all things!
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”- Hebrews 13:2